Epitaph of L. Sossios


Trismegistos ID: 738908

Source Description


Cyrene Museum, 605.


White marble stele, damaged above and broken away below (0.55; 0.79;0.32).


Inscribed on front face on 5 lines with axial layout and large lettering, followed by at least 16 verse-lines, with alternate inset of pentametres and hexametres (0.55; 0.60;0.32).


L. 1, 0.035, ll. 2-3, 0.025, ll. 4-5, 0.03, ll. 6ff., 0.015; ll. 1 to 5 have an uncial lettering whereas lines 6 on have a cursive script (lunate epsilon, sigma and omega); superscript bars above the praenomen in l. 1 and the figures in l. 5.

Place of Origin



Second century A.D. (lettering)


Found in 1934 at Cyrene : in the South Necropolis , some 500 m. from the marabout of Sidi Mohammed Bu Baggiada (i.e. tomb S.4 Cassels).

Later recorded Location

Seen by Fr. Chamoux in 1947 in Shahat : Cyrene Museum .

Last recorded Location

Seen by C. Dobias-Lalou in 1993 in Shahat : in the new Cyrene Museum .

Text constituted from

Transcription from stone (CDL).


Reynolds-Bacchielli, 1996 , whence SEG , 46.2211 and AE 1996, 1669 (Laronde). Cf. Burford, 1972 , pp. 150-151, 181 and 208.


Λ(ούκιος) Σόσσιος Εὐθυκλῆς βουλευτὴς (vac. 1) ζῳγράφος 5𐅹 (ἐτῶν) μα´

| Λούκιον Εὐθυκλέους τὸν ζωιγράφον, εἴ που, ὁδεῖτα, | (vac. 3) ἔκλυες, ὃς τέχνην μέζον' ἐπηγλάϊσα (vac. 3)

| ἤθεσι Κυρήνηι, βασιλήϊον ὃς μέγα δῶρον | (vac. 3)πατρίδι, τὰς μακάρων εἰκόνας, ἠγαγόμην (vac. 3)

5 | (10) τῷ καὶ βουλευτήσι μετέπτρεπον, ἐνθάδε κεῖμαι. | (vac. 3)λοίσθιον οὐ τεκέεσσ' οὐδ' ἀλόχωι δάκρυον, (vac. 3)

| Εὐθυκλεῖ δὲ φίλωι μοι ἀδελφεῶι ὅς με γενέθληι, | (vac. 3) πρεσβεύων τὰ πατρὸς πάντ' ἐμόγησ' ἐπ' ἐμοί, (vac. 3)

| μόχθων δ' οὐκ ἀπόνητο· πρὸ γὰρ β̣α̣ρ̣[υ  ˉ  ˘  ˘  |  ˉ  ± ]  | (15) (vac. 3) [c. 8]  Σ̣ΗΡΙ̣Ι̣[---] 
- - - - - -


14 Reynolds-Bacchielli, 1996  β̣α̣ρ̣[υ---]  : Reynolds-Bacchielli, 1996  β̣α̣ρ̣[υκήδεϊ πότμῳ] (Peek's suggestion per epistulam)

15 Reynolds-Bacchielli, 1996  [c. 8] Σ̣ΗΡΙ̣Ι̣[---]  : Reynolds-Bacchielli, 1996  [χῶρον ἐ]ς ἡρώ[ων ἤλυθον] (Peek's suggestion per epistulam)

French translation

Loukios Sossios Euthyklès, membre du conseil, peintre, (mort) à 41 ans.

Si jamais, passant, de Loukios fils d'Euthyklès, le peintre,

tu as entendu parler, c'est moi qui repose ici: moi qui rehaussai l'éclat de mon art

par mon style au profit de Cyrène, moi qui offris un grand cadeau royal

à ma patrie –les images des bienheureux,

raison pour laquelle je me distinguai parmi les membres du conseil.

Ni pour des enfants ni même pour une épouse je ne suis cause de larmes,

mais je le suis pour Euthyklès, mon frère affectionné, qui, me précédant

en âge, accomplit pour moi toutes les obligations d'un père,

mais ne jouit pas de la contrepartie de ses peines; car avant  [---]  un lourd  [---] .

English translation

Loukios Sossios Euthykles, city councillor, painter, (died) aged 41 years.

Wayfarer, if ever you heard of Loukios son of Euthykles, the painter,

I lie here: I who added grace to my skill

with my manners for the benefit of Cyrene, I who brought a kingly great gift

to my native city - the images of blessed ones,

for which reason I was distinguished among the city councillors.

Neither children nor wife have I left in tears,

but Euthykles, the brother dear to me, my senior,

who undertook all the labours of a father for me,

but did not receive the reward of his toils; for before  [---]  a heavy  [---] .

(J.M. Reynolds' translation with some changes)

Italian translation

Loukios Sossios Euthykles, membro del consiglio, pittore, di anni 41.

Se in qualche modo, passante, di Loukios figlio di Euthykles, il pittore,

hai sentito parlare, sono io che qui giaccio, io che con il mio stile

resi splendida la mia arte a vantaggio di Cirene, io che un grande dono regale

ho portato alla mia patria – le immagini dei beati,

motivo per cui mi distinguevo tra i membri del consiglio.

Lacrime ho lasciato non ai figli né ad una moglie

ma a Euthykles, il mio caro fratello, che precedendomi

per nascita sopportò per me tutte le fatiche di un padre,

ma non trasse vantaggio dalle sue pene; infatti prima  [---]  un pesante  [---] .


The dead Loukios Sossios Euthykles bore as a cognomen the name that was the personal name both of his father and elder brother. As suggested by Reynolds, he should have newly received the Roman citizenship marked by his nomen Σόσσιος and praenomen Λούκιος, the origin of which we cannot guess.

The elder brother Euthykles, who survived Sossios, had taken care of him after they had prematurely lost their father.

Loukios Sossios was a member of the Council and also a painter who presented his home-city with pictures; in an unpublished contribution Chamoux suggested that he might have offered them on occasion of the restorations operated after the Jewish revolt. This would fit the date based on the lettering.

The 'pictures of the blessed ones' (l. 9) might be images either of gods or of heroes.

The relationship between Sossios' status as a member of the Council and as a painter are discussed by Reynolds and Bacchielli with bibliography; see also Tybout at SEG , 46.2211.

Burford, who had knowledge of this inscription long before its publication, misunderstood some points in translation and interpretation.

As there is an iota on the stone at line 6 in the word ζωιγράφος, we choose to transcribe the same word with a subscript iota at line 4 for the sake of homogeneity; however both forms with or without iota are attested and anyway at line 6 the iota does not correspond to any distinct syllable.

Metrical analysis: after name, occupation and age of the deceased, a series of at least 5 elegiac couplets.

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